BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores US and Sam’s Club US have set a goal to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs in the supply chain by 2025. The goal represents a commitment to improve the company’s supply chain yet maintain affordable prices that appeal to its customers.
“Our customers and associates count on Walmart and Sam’s Club to deliver on affordability and quality, while at the same time offering transparency into how their food is grown and raised,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart. “Our commitment to transition to a cage-free egg supply chain recognizes that expectation and represents another step we are taking to improve transparency for food we sell in our US stores and clubs.”
The announcement follows Walmart’s commitment to new animal welfare positions regarding its aspirations of achieving the recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare for farm animals in its supply chain.
Some of the key points of the cage-free goal in the US include shell egg suppliers to be in compliance with United Egg Producers and Animal Husbandry guidelines or equivalent standards and certified, and to challenge suppliers to use innovation, best management practices and selective breeding practices.
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), The Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) were all involved in the company’s decision.
“The past six months has seen many cage-free egg announcements, but Walmart’s is the most influential with regard to laying hen welfare. We applaud Walmart for their progress and commitment to improve the lives of farm animals in their supply chain. As the largest retailer in the US, Walmart’s commitment will have firm ripple effects reaching far beyond our borders, particularly in the EU and Australia, for example, where retailers are starting to fall behind,” says Leah Garces, Compassion USA Director.
“This is an important move because the majority of hens who lay eggs for US consumers—some 290 million in 2015—are confined in such a way that restricts basic, necessary behaviors like spreading their wings, perching, or laying their eggs in nests,” said ASPCA president and CEO, Matt Bershadker in a statement.
Walmart will continue to work with farmers and collaborate with veterinary experts, academics, suppliers, government agencies, NGOs and animal health companies to address the improvement of how US food is grown, raised and sold in the US in its commitment to animal welfare.